Respond to This

Exercises for fingerpicking

After a couple of years focusing on playing electric with a pick, I'd
like to devote some time to learning how to fingerpick on a steel
string acoustic.

I've started out with some lessons on basic Travis picking. Are
there any other exercises anyone can recommend to help with
acoustic fingerpicking?

Thanks.
Responses
Respond to this

Re: Exercises for fingerpicking

10/28/2008 10:03 PM

Steve Ebisuzaki (461) wrote:

Hi, there are some good classical studies on arpegios or finger rolls. but to start just take some of those basic travis picking patterns that you have and apply them to some easy three chord songs-Knocking on Heavens Door or better yet Simple Man.Or any that you can find. The idea is to keep it simple and get your right hand patterns to feel comfortable and fluid during chord changes also while picking simple songs see if you can find the melody within the chords as you play. with simple songs some times the melody is right there.Good luck and have fun.--Steve

Respond to this

Re: Exercises for fingerpicking

10/28/2008 10:39 PM

Tom Cavanagh (2608) wrote:

Redmond:

I'd recommend checking out Giuliani's '120 Right Hand Studies'. They're 120 arpeggio studies, all moving from one measure of C to one measure of G7, then repeating. It may sound monotonous, but there a ton on of right hand picking patterns/arpeggio formulas and a wide range of rhythms covered.

Tom

Respond to this

Re: Exercises for fingerpicking

10/29/2008 9:19 AM

Michael Laurance (4040) wrote:

I have tried to get Travis picking down, but stumble with it. Any suggestions for that?



Respond to this

Re: Exercises for fingerpicking

10/29/2008 10:15 AM

Steve Ebisuzaki (461) wrote:

Try starting with just one chord so you can focus on just your Right hand patterns and then later you can try chord changes.-Steve

Respond to this

Re: Exercises for fingerpicking

10/29/2008 3:22 PM

Rik Eischen (960) wrote:

I'll share one of my old stand-by finger-picking pattern. Start out slowly, then the more you practce it the soner you can speed it up. Let's start with a basic Am chord:
Am

The left hand is easy, of course. Just finger the Am. With your right hand, not counting your thumb, most people have four fingers. We're going to look at your thumb, your index finger, your middle finger, and your ring finger.

P.......Thumb
I.......Index
M.......Middle
A.......Ring

On the first count (in 4/4 timing) do a "pinch" with P and M by plucking the fifth string with your thumb (P), and simultaneously plucing the second string with your middle finger (M).

On the second count, drop your thumb (P) down to the fourth string. Pluck it once with your thumb.

On the third count, pluck the third string with your index finger (I).

On the fourth count, pluck the fifth string with your thumb.

On the fifth count, pluck the second string

On the sixth count

On the seventh count

On the eighth count

Count the eight counts as "One and two and three and four and." Repeat.


Respond to this

Re: Exercises for fingerpicking

10/29/2008 6:50 PM

Rik Eischen (960) wrote:

SORRY: This got published before it was finished:

I'll share one of my old stand-by finger-picking pattern. Start out slowly, then the more you practce it the soner you can speed it up. Let's start with a basic Am chord:

Am

Am


The left hand (L.H.) is easy, of course. Just finger the Am. With your right hand (R.H.), not counting your thumb, most people have four fingers. We're going to look at your thumb, your index finger, your middle finger, and your ring finger.

P.......Thumb........P = pulgar
I.........Index...........i = indice
M.......Middle........m = medio
A.........Ring..........a = anular

On the fretboard we are going to only look at four strings: the fifth, the fourth, the third, and the second strings. Of those four strings, we will call the 5th and the 2nd strings the "outside strings." Similarly, we will call the 4th and 3rd strings "inside strings." This fingerpicking pattern primarily alternates between plucking outside strings, then inside strings, then outside, then inside, etc. with a slight variation.

OUTSIDE:

On the first count do a "pinch" with P and M by plucking the fifth string with your thumb (P), and simultaneously plucking the second string with your middle finger (M).

INSIDE:

On the second count, drop your thumb (P) down to the fourth string and pluck it once with your thumb.

On the third count, pluck the third string with your index finger (I).

OUTSIDE:

On the fourth count, pluck the fifth string with your thumb (P).

On the fifth count, pluck the second string with your midle finger (M).

INSIDE:

On the sixth count, pluck the fourth string with your thumb (P).

On the seventh count, pluck the third string with your index finger (I).

OUTSIDE:

On the eighth count, pluck the fifth string with your thumb (P). THEN repeat all eight counts, OR instead of going back to the pinch in the first count, just continue the pattern: 5th, 2nd, 4th 3rd, 5th, 2nd, 4th, 3rd, et cetera.

Count the eight counts as "One and two and three and four and." Repeat.

P
M P I P M P I P (repeat)

Try different chords for each series of 8 counts (four beats):






Hope this makes sense. A friend taught me this years ago, and I still use it quite often.

-Rik E.

Respond to this

Re: Exercises for fingerpicking

11/3/2008 1:38 PM

Redmond Militante (957) wrote:

Thanks, this will sound nice too, sped up.

Respond to this

Re: Exercises for fingerpicking

11/6/2008 1:01 PM

Jon Riley (9697) wrote:

I'm not sure that's clear as you've written it Rik. The bass notes seem out of time to me (for Travis picking). Let me try and tab it in time, check this is what you mean:

|----------------|-------------------------------------------------------
|-1---------1----|-------------------------------------------------------
|-------2--------|-------------------------------------------------------
|-----2-------2--|-------------------------------------------------------
|-0-------0------|-------------------------------------------------------
|----------------|-------------------------------------------------------
1 . 2 . 3 . 4 .
m i m
p p p p
The thumb plays on the beats - known as "alternating bass" because it alternates from root to (in this case) 5th of the chord and back.
The fingers play either simultaneous with the thumb (beat 1) or on the 8ths in between.

There are many variations, but this is a very common standard pattern in folk, country, blues and ragtime guitar.

Here's a common folk one, for a C chord:
|----------------|0--------------|---------------------------------------
|-----1----------|----------1----|---------------------------------------
|-----------0----|------0--------|---------------------------------------
|-----2-------2--|----2-------2--|---------------------------------------
|-3-------3------|3-------3------|---------------------------------------
|----------------|---------------|---------------------------------------
1 . 2 . 3 . 4 . 1 . 2 . 3 . 4 .
m i m i m
p p p p p p p p
Notice the 2nd bar is the same right hand pattern as the first (Am) example. (A more classical approach would be to use ring finger on the top string - beat 1 in this bar - but I don't like to use 3 fingers when 2 will do!)

The first bar delays the simultaneous "pinch" stroke till beat 2.